The Special Needs Support Center is pleased to offer parents Educational Advocacy as they strive
to obtain the best academic and related services program to meet their child's special needs.
Our Advocates are trained in special education law and state regulations in both New Hampshire
and Vermont regarding IEPs (Individual Education Program) as well as 504 Plans
(a section of the 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973). We have years of successful work with
parents and with all school districts throughout the Upper Valley - on both sides of the river.
Our Philosophy and Approach aim to facilitate a positive and productive collaboration between all
members of the child's special education or 504 team that includes parents and all the school staff.
The goal is a positive and effective relationship where all members work together in the best
educational interests of the child. Our firm belief is that an educational advocate (except in
very rare situations) is not an adversary to the school. A SNSC advocate is seen by most schools as
a welcome addition to the IEP/504 that is working together to provide a free and appropriate public
education (FAPE) for your child.
What does an educational advocate do? We provide support in a variety of ways to parents in all aspects
of the challenging process of get their child's special education needs met:
- We help parents wade through and understand the complicated state and federal rules and regulations for
Special Education and Section 504
- We provide a neutral and professional perspective in your planning for meetings and contacts with the school
- We can help parents understand the array of testing and evaluations that are done to help plan for your
child's educational program
- At IEP or 504 meetings, we provide an extra pair of eyes and ears. Being emotionally neutral
and professional we can help parents keep focused, bring up points they had planned in their agenda
for the meeting, and assist parents in getting their ideas and concerns heard by the school staff
- Because of our years of successful work in area schools, we can participate with parents and
the school staff as a full member of the team working to give every student all he/she needs and deserves.
Our Educational Advocacy provides a range of services to meet the various needs of parents and
within the time limitations of our staff. These include:
- Education about the rights, rules, and regulations of Special Education and Section
504 Plans - provided individually to parents or through workshops on various related topics.
Some of these workshops are offered by our staff, and some in collaboration with the Parent
Information Centers in both states
- Consultation and planning regarding the IEP or 504 Plan process for your child.
This may involve developing strategies for dealing with school teams and building an agenda
for the team meetings
- Attendance at school meetings with parents - as needed, desired, and as possible given
- Connection and consultation with the PIC staff in NH and VT as needed regarding
special questions and unique situations.
Many schools now refer parents to SNSC for advocacy. They know that if parents feel knowledgeable
and supported, rather than threatened about the special education process, they are then better able
to engage as full participants and this facilitates the best outcome for the student and full
realization of FAPE.
SNSC Educational Advocacy is provided AT NO COST to all parents
SNSC fundraising and grants cover part but not nearly all our expenses for this service, that costs
at least $45 per hour of staff time (plus mileage costs). Similar service providers in NH and VT
charge up to $90 per hour.
Parents often ask how they can help defray some of these costs. We offer the suggested sliding fee
scale for your consideration. This estimate of costs is based on attendance of one school meeting and
associated contacts before and after.
- $75 for families with gross annual income of $75,000 or more
- $40 to $60 with income between $50K and $75K
- $10 to $30 with income between $30K and $50K
- $5 with income in the $20Ks
- Zero with income less than $20K
OR, you may wish to provide volunteer time and energy in some way to SNSC. OR, you may want to suggest
some names of your relatives and friends or businesses that SNSC could send our Annual Giving Campaign
letter to for donations. If so, please talk with your Advocate about this.
Thank you for supporting SNSC - in any way you can!
For more information contact Philip Eller at Phil@snsc-uv.org or by phone